March 10, 2018

Easy puff pastry ("rough puff")

This may be my year of making things I didn't think I'd ever attempt to make! From bagels to English muffins (both of which I've now made several times), I moved on to...puff pastry.  At least, it's a simplified, easy puff pastry recipe - what's been called the "rough puff".
Incidentally, I can't stop saying "rough puff" after hearing the term.  So what makes it a rough puff?  Well, rather than having to go through the intricate and very time-consuming process of rolling out a butter packet and incorporating it into the dough, folding, rolling, and repeating the process several times between refrigeration (reasons I've never been tempted to try making puff pastry), this dough starts off a bit like pie dough and comes together in no time.  We're talking 15 minutes if you're efficient and maybe more like 30 minutes if you're not, like me!

This recipe is another I learned about from the fabulous site, Dessert for Two.  As you can gather from the photos above, cubes of butter are cut into the flour, then brought together with ice water to form a rough dough.  You roll the dough out into a rectangle, fold it like a letter, give it a quarter turn, then roll it out again.  Repeat this process of folding, turning, and rolling 6-7 times (no refrigerating in between) and you have your rough puff pastry dough.  
You don't need me to tell you there are so many uses for puff pastry.  I decided to take my rough puff and use it to make some shortcut chocolate croissants (or pains au chocolat) and chocolate-almond croissants.  I've done it before using store-bought puff pastry. 

True croissants involve leavened dough.  It's basically a cross between a yeasted dough and butter-layered dough like puff pastry.  The result is a stretchy, chewy, yet flaky texture, that's, of course, encased in buttery richness.  For a shortcut, puff pastry alone will due here.  I filled the dough generously with chopped dark chocolate, and for the almond version, I tucked in a bit of almond paste as well.   
The rough puff I made may not have boasted tons of layers but the result was very similar to what I get when I use store-bought puff pastry for this purpose.  My family really enjoy my endeavor and the rough puff was truly surprisingly easy. This experience may help me work up the courage to branch out even further...maybe try my hand at actually making a small batch of homemade croissants (or chocolate croissants) one of these days!

Onto the logistics - the easy puff pastry dough starts with flour, salt, and diced unsalted butter.  Use a rich, high-quality European-style butter; I used Plugra.  
Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a coarse texture, with little pea-size lumps of butter in the mixture.  I start with a pastry cutter, then finish with my fingers.
One-third cup of ice cold water goes in.  Stir together to form a rough dough, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface.  I don't know about you but whenever I read something like "...shape the dough into a rough square", I make a rectangle.  Make a square if you can.
Now, start rolling the dough into a rectangle about 10 inches long.  At first, you still see chunks of butter in the dough but as you fold and roll, the dough smooths out and becomes very easy to work with. 
Fold the dough like a letter.  In other words, fold the bottom third of the dough over the middle of the dough and the top third on top of the middle.  Give it a quarter turn.  It should look like this:
Then you repeat the process.  Roll it out again to a 10-inch long rectangle, fold it, give it a quarter turn and repeat this about 6 times or so (more if you're having fun like I was).  Add flour as you go along to prevent sticking. 
As you can see above, by the time you're done, the dough is smooth and you no longer see the chunks of butter.  I have a habit of rolling dough out on a sheet of parchment paper (easy cleanup).  I will say that given all the rolling that takes place here, the parchment got a bit wrinkled, along with the dough.  It's not a big deal but for a totally smooth surface, I'd skip the parchment paper next time. 
Once your rough puff pastry is done, wrap it up and let it rest at least one hour, or overnight, before using.  I saved this little project for a rainy morning and that night, I used the dough and prepped them for my shortcut chocolate and chocolate-almond croissants for the next morning's breakfast.  

I decided to cut my sheet of rough puff into 6 pieces to make six pastries.
I tucked a fairly generous amount (a little shy of an ounce) of chocolate into each rectangle...
For the chocolate-almond ones, I used less chocolate and added a little less than an ounce of almond paste into each.  
To seal, I folded them like an envelop, with a little water (or egg wash) to help it stick together. 
You can prep these the night before like I did.  Place them seam side down onto a parchment lined baking sheet and cover tightly with plastic wrap before storing in the refrigerator.  When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Take the tray out of the fridge, brush the tops of each with egg wash.  For the chocolate-almond ones, I placed some sliced almonds on top.  
Bake for about 20 minutes, until the pastries are puffed and golden.  
Waking up to a warm homemade pastry is pretty neat!  My family really appreciated it.  
My son favors the plain chocolate but for my husband and I, the warm, fragrant, chewy almond paste nestled inside the almond ones just can't be beat.  
Cooking and baking is really such a comfort.  Digging out of the nor'easter we had recently, I'm very thankful we didn't lose power and I could continue my "baking therapy sessions" as needed.  It's really fun to try new dishes for dinner and when it comes to baking, I continue to bake up family favorites and trying a few new things like the rough puff pastry in between.  

Recently, we seem to be having a moment with rice krispies treats at my house.  I made chocolates ones during Valentine's Day and continuing my love affair with recipes from Dessert for Two, I made peanut butter rice krispies, which I have to show you because they just make me smile!
Boy oh boy, peanut butter rice krispies are incredibly good!  Plain and chocolates ones are amazing, too.  I'm learning to have more fun and get more creative with it.  I really recommend making any variety and reminding yourself how good they are.  
During the snow storm, I also tried Christina's cookies and cream cupcakes.  I'd been eyeing it because my son loves Oreo cookies.  Not surprisingly, the cupcakes were a hit (I find desserts are very welcomed during snow days!).
And right now, we're working our way through Ina Garten's chocolate cake, which I baked today.  When it comes to comfort food of the sweet variety, I always think of a classic chocolate layer cake like that one.  It's a serious family favorite.  Tonight, we had a nice family dinner of Spanish-style yellow rice with chicken and kielbasa sausage and wrapped things up with the cake for dessert.  First thing in the morning, I'll be baking a double batch of coffee cake muffins.  For now, good night and be well!


Easy Puff Pastry ("Rough Puff)
From Dessert for Two

- Makes 1 sheet of puff pastry (to use as desired*) - 

1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) high-quality unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1/3 cup ice cold water

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt.  Add butter and using a pastry cutter and/or your fingertips, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly dough with uniform pieces of pea-size butter.

Make a hole in the center of the bowl and add the ice water.  Stir together with a fork until you have a rough dough. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Pat the dough into a rough square.  You will see chunks of butter in the dough and while the dough may seem dry, do not add any more water; it will come together as you roll.

Dust a rolling pin with flour and use it to roll the dough out into a rectangle about 10 inches long.  Fold the bottom third of the dough over the middle and the top third also over the middle (like you would fold a letter).  Rotate the dough one-quarter turn and repeat.  Use additional flour, as needed, to prevent sticking.  

Roll-out, fold, and turn the dough at least 6-7 more times.  Then, wrap the dough and chill for at least 1 hour, or overnight.  You can also freeze the dough.  

Roll the puff pastry dough out for desired use.  

* To make shortcut chocolate croissants like I did, roll the dough out into a 12x12 inch square.  Make six 4x6 inch rectangles by cutting the dough straight down the middle and then making two cuts across, once every 4 inches.  With the short side of each rectangle facing you, place some chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips in the middle.  Fold the bottom third over the chocolate, wet the top of the dough with some water and fold that over to seal.  Place seam side down onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  For chocolate-almond croissants, I use a little less chocolate and added about 3/4 ounce of almond paste as the filling.  Before baking, brush pastries with egg wash; bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until golden and puffed.


  1. Lots of goodies here :-)) The pastries look nicely puffy and tempting with chocolate filling.

    1. It's amazing to think about how much food our bodies need to function everyday. ; ) Some treats help make the days all that much sweeter.

  2. Wow - I love this recipe! I've always wanted to make puff pastry but love this shortcut even more. Those chocolate almond pastries are calling my name. I've been thinking about you and this lovely spring weather. Hope it warms up soon and the flowers start to bloom!

    1. I had never heard of "rough puff" before and it was too easy to pass up and not try! The chocolate almond ones are really addicting - so fragrant and chewy. : ) And thank you for thinking of me! It has been a nice sunny day here. School back on tomorrow and feeling thankful. xo

  3. This is definitely going to my to do list! It looks amazing!

    1. Glad to hear it. I love to share these little discoveries that others might also find interesting.

  4. I have said this many times, Monica. Your husband and son are SO lucky to have you creating such deliciousness for them!! My son's very favorite thing to snack on after school was a chocolate croissant. (He learned that very fancy habit on a trip to France where pains au chocolat is a common after school snack!) He would be delighted with these! Stay cozy. We aren't dealing with the same kind of weather you are, but it is steadily snowing here today.

    1. You are so kind to say that. I guess the fellas get these treats to offset all of my quirks they have to deal with? ; )
      I love your son's taste and eating habit, clearly. : ) He sounds like our kind of guy. It's been a lovely bright day. Power is coming back on for those who lost it and we're back to school tomorrow. Fingers cross spring is coming. You be well!

  5. Ok that is it Monica! We are moving in! Seriously you are such a good baker that really your tag line is so incorrect... You are a professional not amateur baker. Sharing!

    1. You are too generous. Definitely a bumbling amateur here and proud to be! : )

  6. haha okay first how have I not heard the term rough puff before - that's kinda amazing and I feel like I'm going to start saying it as often as possible lol.

    So glad you guys are okay after the crazy storms up there - my parents (and most my family actually) are all in the New Jersey / New York area and I can't get over the weather. Madness.

    1. I know...totally catchy and I was saying it a lot! haha! Glad you get my nuttiness. : )

      Hope your family are all good in NJ. It was a rough one but we were very lucky.

  7. Good for you for trying all these new things! Homemade is always the best.

  8. Good for you to continue learning new and challenging cooking techniques, your pastries look great.

    1. It was definitely worth the effort. Thanks, Karen.

  9. Your post makes me want to run and hide under the table:-) I don't remember the last time I tried something new. It's been so busy on my side since we moved away from the twin's school. So happy to see these beautiful creations. Drooling at the golden brown, crisp, chocolately croissants...OMG!

    1. Sounds like a lot going on. You have to prioritize and keep sane. Hope things are slowing down for you. Thanks, Sonali!



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